By Jeff Kirkpatrick – Ban GMOs Now
There is a saying that if a person does the same thing over and over again but expects different results, it is a form of insanity.1 While it may not be considered insane to believe that Washington politicians can be educated about GMOs and one day see reason, and ultimately support efforts to label GMOs or make policy changes that reflect the will of the people, it’s pretty clear that Washington doesn’t respond to reason. Even so, the response from many people and several anti-GMO and pro-GMO labeling organizations, is: we should keep doing what we’ve been doing.
Sure – because the success rate is 100% – right?
It’s time to recognize that no matter how much evidence, science or facts are provided to policy makers and politicians, it won’t matter at all because they refuse to accept science. After all, we are talking about the kind of people who throw snowballs on the Senate floor to “prove” climate change is a hoax. This is the same group of people who have been claiming that anti-GMO people are anti-science.
These anti-science zealots are devoted to a religious belief, a faith-based adherence to propaganda poorly disguised as scientific authority. They refuse to accept real science; it is willful denial of reality.
“GMOs are no different from that (the church). Scientists are like priests. This is being pushed as an ideology.” – Ignacio Chapela
We have just witnessed one of the worst historical events related to GMOs with the passage of the GMO non-labeling law, S. 764 that was signed by our Traitor-in-Chief Obama. This happened despite the outcry from citizens and scientists alike. This happened even as ethics and logic were brushed aside like mere gnats.
What we have, in the end, is a broken food system, perpetuated by mostly upper-class white men in Congress who are out of touch and clueless about the needs and challenges of every day citizens. This was proven (again) by the sham GMO bill built on a mountain of lies.
Clearly, what we need is a food revolution. We need a total change from a system that enabled the unjustifiable and unscientific experiment of feeding GMOs to Americans without informed consent for over 20 years – products that have never been required to undergo long-term chronic toxicity studies or post-marketing studies. We need a total transformation that addresses the global threat to food security by a handful of sociopathic corporations that now have control of the world’s food system. We need a food revolution, and it cannot happen without political change. Those politicians will not be influenced by science, logic, reason, rational debate or ethics: that is the nature of corruption combined with willful ignorance. They have one goal, and that is to appease their corporate masters, period. It is a waste of time to use reason with them. They need to be voted out.
It has been demonstrated countless times, this is not about science. This is not about evidence. This is not about “We have proof” about this or that … this is about anti-science zealots in Congress and Washington who cannot be reasoned with, cannot be educated, cannot be “shown the light.”
A new paradigm must occur. While I don’t think that it was a wasted effort to try to educate the people in Washington, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result – in this case – may very well be insanity. It is certainly at least futile to approach this in the same way that has taken place for over two decades.
Yet, right away we see the response from various organizations which are doing and saying the same thing, and calling for the same thing: “We will educate them again! We will go back to Washington and tell them the truth!”
HEY! >> WAKE UP! >> This isn’t about truth, or science, or ethics or evidence. People should realize by now that you can provide them with a gazillion pieces of scientific proof about this issue, but they can’t (and won’t) accept any of that because they are too busy bending over so they can get their love strokes from Monsanto et al.
Let me drive the point home again. This is not about just America. This is a global power. This problem is taking place around the world. If we are not constantly mindful that this issue is not just about us, but is about the world, we will fail, no matter what approach is taken. Consider India:
“Science, reason & ethics will not influence the government to change its GMO policy in India: The problem this raises in respect of GMO policy is a peculiar and particularly serious one for India and her future. The endemic and proven conflict of interest drives GMO policy in India at the level of the Prime Minister Office, i.e. GM crops are safe and are required for India’s food security … The profoundly disturbing point is also that under these circumstances, the debate is not and will not be, about the facts and science of GMOs, or its ethics, no matter how well we try to engage our government with the facts … We may not expect corrective public policy by regulators internationally, in the matter of GMOs, to be driven by reason, ethics, and science.” (See: “The Precautionary Principle Requires to be Interpreted Critically and Pre-emptively for its Proper Application to the Unique Risks of GM Crops,” By Aruna Rodrigues, Third World Network; March – April, 2015 – 59 pages).
Advising people to do the same thing over and over is just flat out disappointing. Mark Reed, a long-time and very active member of the anti-GMO community said, “This is not about convincing bought off politicians to back our side. They have sold the people out in favor of corporate Wall St. over and over again. What it is about is organizing for power, building coalitions and true grass roots power that will force change from the bottom up. There is plenty of information out there, what we truly need is effective grassroots community leaders.”
Instead of going to Washington so often to educate those who refuse to be educated, couldn’t these groups consider something new? What about voter registration drives? The politicians in Washington won’t listen to science, reason, logic and ethics, so they must be voted out and replaced with politicians who will. For example, Florida residents who live in District 23 should seriously consider voting for Stephanie Anderson, (MSM 4 US Congress). Stephanie created the White House Petition that requested Obama veto the GMO bill and has demonstrated that she is not only a strong advocate for people to know about their food, but she has also shown that she has a well-rounded understanding of this complex subject.2
We need a food revolution; the entire food system must be changed. The efforts to resist GMO labels by corrupt government officials are systemic of a much greater problem that goes well beyond the right to know. This revolves around the patenting of seeds and the absurd legal decision to patent life; it must be overturned and the only way to do that is through political change.
We must recognize that GMO labels represent only one small facet of a much greater problem: the world’s food system is in the control of a handful of sociopathic corporations. While fighting for labels was and is very important, even if there is success, it will do nothing to resolve the massive ecological threat that GMOs present, nor will it address the millions of people in this country alone who could not afford to eat non-GMOs even if they were labeled.
We need massive change. The fact that GMOs have not been and will not be properly labeled is without doubt, an ethical failure of the government:
“The nondisclosure of the fact that their food was developed using bioengineering techniques removes the right of informed choice. This fails the assessment from any ethical perspective … U.S. citizens have been deprived of their autonomy and freedom of choice … Individuals have the fundamental right to know what they are buying and eating … The government must fulfill its responsibility to protect its citizens … and not betray their trust by forcing them to bear the risk of GMOs without informed consent.” (See: “Defying Nature: The Ethical Implications of Genetically Modified Plants,” by Debra M. Strauss, Journal of Food Law & Policy Vol. 3, No. 1; 2007).
But that’s just a minor symptom of a much greater social and political disease that stems from an absence of ethical considerations brought about by the lack of empathy for others and ethical egoism: “Ethical egoism is the belief that selfishness is a virtue, as each person is best suited to know his owns needs and interests. This means that each person should act in such a way that would benefit only himself, with no regard for the greater good or for society as a whole. When discussing genetic engineering, it is obvious that many researchers are practicing this technique in a very egoistic manner. While some companies or individuals may have enormous concern for the welfare of the environment and human health, others are genetically modifying organisms without thought of the possible consequences. These companies or individuals are thinking only of the benefits to themselves. Many will make a lot of money from their products, and may also achieve fame.” [Citations omitted] (See: “Genetic Engineering: A Question of Ethics,” by Teresa Carlson, Mälardalen University, Sweden; November 2006 – 8 pages).
The ethical implication of feeding people novel food products that are not required to undergo long-term chronic toxicity studies (at a minimum) without informed consent violates any ethical standard, so I supported those efforts to label GMOs.
But, let me be clear: I advocate for a ban on GMOs, and I strongly believe that the emphasis on “health issues” with GMOs is misplaced. I think the Right to Know is limited in scope. We are facing the Sixth Mass Extinction, 3 and in my worldview, that transcends the Right to Know by miles and miles..
“The overwhelming focus in contemporary debates over genetically modified food crops involves putative threats to food safety and human health. Arguments over the economic impact of these crops on farmers (especially organic farmers and others seeking to avoid annual purchases of patented seed) run a close second in passion. But these concerns obscure the potential for ecological and evolutionary damage from the nearly universal adoption of herbicide-resistant crops … Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, presents a singularly intense concern. Monocultures consisting of a single glyphosate-resistant variety, such as Roundup Ready soybeans, invite multiple applications, season after season, of glyphosate … Although food law fetishists keep framing legal issues surrounding the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture as matters of consumer rights or awareness, the real issues involve agriculture’s productive capacity – or, even more urgency, its destruction. If left unchecked and allowed to ‘continue unabated through this century,’ these ‘ultimate drivers of the Anthropocene … may well threaten the viability of contemporary civilization and perhaps even the future existence of Homo sapiens.” (See: “Anthropocene Agricultural Law,” by James Ming Chen, Texas A&M Law Review, Vol. 3; April 2016)
Expecting activists to respond to a piece of propaganda here and there in outrage (“How can they misrepresent the truth!”) and tell everyone that the response should be post comments on Facebook, email them, call them, tell them you object … Well, history demonstrates that all of this has no impact on the publication of more propaganda. Shouldn’t there be some consideration in thinking of a better strategy than this tired response that is essentially ineffective? Sorry. So much of this propaganda is published all the time, every day that it can be overwhelming. Sometimes people ask me to write a detailed response to one article or another … but … it’s not a valid strategy. If you fight fires, you know that you cannot focus on one small aspect of a fire. You have to engage in a fire fight from an overview that includes how big it is and where it is likely to spread. In other words, a thoughtful, comprehensive strategy is required. When I was a firefighter, I was in situations where Captains failed to make the right choice and went about in a haphazard way to fight such fires and endangered the lives of their crew. This kind of response, to me, has some similarities. It’s like trying to fight one tiny fire on a single bush, while all around you, the forest is ablaze. This is an ineffective way to address media bias, suppression and blackout. It’s a shoot-from-the-hip response about an outrage that occurs daily, if not hourly.
Some people are responding by saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me … that’s your plan of action?”
So as these organizations round up the same tired tactics and expect people in Washington to one day wake up, I see an increase in disgruntled and disappointed attitudes in the activist community that these leaders are seemingly blind to.
It is redundant to tell anti-GMO activists that the response to Washington’s GMO bill must be to “boycott GMOs and to buy organic!” … Wait. Are you serious? That’s your strategy? That’s how you respond to one of the most significant disappoints in the history of GMOs in the United States – advise people (as if they didn’t already know) to avoid GMOs? For over 20 years, this failed and selfish approach – which is what it amounts to when it is presented as a solution to the problem of GMOs – has not only failed to deliver desired policy changes, but during that time, Monsanto has become a global power and a handful of corporations now control the world’s food system.
While these leaders tell everyone to avoid GMOs over and over, they offer absolutely nothing new by way of a real response.
The time has come to advocate for a ban on GMOs. There is more than enough scientific evidence to support a ban, and there are enough ethical and ecological reasons to act on calling for a ban.
This much is clear: even if we fail at a ban, we must never give up; the future is at stake, we must fight for our children, their children, and their children and so on. This is not just about us and our right to know and choose. We must also be constantly mindful that the entire basis of activism is to address the needs of those whose voices we do not hear: the minorities, the poor, and the elderly and future generations. And we must never forget the global context of this beast, this power. If we do, we have already failed future generations.
1 Einstein is often wrongly attributed with the saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Although it is likely he is not the source of that quote, it still rings true. See: “Rita Mae Brown” – Wikiquote
2 Another candidate in the same area in Florida (District 23) is Tim Canova. He has the formidable challenge of running against Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Residents in that area should review Tim’s values and see if they are compatible with their own. If so, they should consider voting for him. Tim Canova for Congress, District 23, Florida
3 “Earth faces sixth ‘great extinction’ with 41% of amphibians set to go the way of the dodo,” by Robin McKie, the Guardian; December 13, 2014
सत्यमेव जयते – Satyameva Jayate
(Truth Ultimately Triumphs)
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Copyright © Jeff Kirkpatrick 2016 Ban GMOs Now All rights reserved.